Home to some of the world’s most biodiverse landscapes and breathtaking natural wonders, Tanzania is truly a gem waiting to be discovered. It is perhaps the best country to embark on a wild African safari adventure and discover countless untamed animals lurking around the corner.
National parks in Tanzania have a lot to offer for every type of visitor, whether a luxurious safari getaway or an inexpensive adventure that suits the needs of a budget traveler.
It is important to know your travel plan in Tanzania in order to have the best experience, as some animals are not as easy to sight during certain times of the year or some parks may be overcrowded during peak season.
Below is a list of information regarding what is considered as some of the best national parks in Tanzania.
1. Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater is a UNESCO heritage site formed from an extinct volcano whose cone collapsed on itself after an explosion millions of years ago. Due to its closed-off walls, it became home to some of the most exotic species of plants and animals, including the ”Big 5”. The local Maasai tribe also graze their livestock here, so it is possible to visit a traditional village.
2. Serengeti National Park
Probably one of the most well-known safari parks on the list, Serengeti National Park is famous due to the Great Migration, or the annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebras seeking new pasture in the northern part of the country.
It is also home to numerous other creatures such as the Nile crocodile, and honey badgers. It has attracted a lot of famous celebrities over the years, including former President Bill Clinton, author Ernest Hemingway, and businessman Bill Gates.
3. Tarangire National Park
Not as crowded as other Tanzania national parks, Tarangire National Park is a good choice for travelers who want to venture outside the usual safari route. It is named after the Tarangire River, which provides sustenance to the flora and fauna in the area. It is also known for the yearly migration of elephants, and for its marvelous baobab trees.
4. Lake Manyara
Smaller in size than other Tanzania parks, but not lacking in wonders to see. Lake Manyara covers most of the area. Animals to see here are pink flamingos lounging in the water, and tree-climbing lions dozing off high above the canopies. It is also a good place to see hundreds of elephants up close.
5. Selous Game Reserve
Another UNESCO World Heritage site on the list, Selous Game Reserve is a huge expanse of untouched land. It is made famous because it is one of the destinations where African elephants travel on their annual migration. Human settlement is not allowed in the area to preserve its wonders, and all entrance and exits are controlled by the Wildlife Division of the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.
6. Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park is officially the largest national park in East Africa, thanks to the absorption of the Usangu Game Reserve in 2008. The name of the park comes from the Great Ruaha River, where travelers can view wildlife up close. Baobab trees and strange antelope species are among the main draw of the park.
7. Gombe Stream National Park
Gombe Stream National Park may be the smallest park on this list, but it has a lot to offer. It was made famous by its connection to Jane Goodall, who spearheaded her behavioral research among the chimpanzee population in the area. Aside from chimpanzees, other primates in the park include olive baboons, red colobus, red-tailed monkeys, and many more.
8. Mikumi National Park
Mikumi National Park is a good option for those who want to experience the diverse wildlife and natural wonders of a Tanzanian National Park but want to avoid the heavy number of tourists who visit the more famous parks. It is often compared to Serengeti Park, due to the sheer amount of wildlife to be found here. Be sure to check out the pools inhabited by hippos.
9. Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park may be the most remote park on this list. Not many people venture out to this area, so it is a good option for travelers who want to have the place to their own. The park presents miles of untouched land and it is a place to have the best opportunity to see hippos.
10. Mahale Mountains National Park
It may not be frequently visited by tourists due to its remoteness, but those who do are blessed to meet one of the most interesting animals on earth, the chimpanzees. It is one of the protected areas for chimpanzees in Tanzania and it is also home to some nice beaches. It can only be reached by boat and walking on foot is the only way to travel in the area.
Travel to these national parks has been made easier due to the introduction of the online Visa to Tanzania. Selected nationalities can apply for a visa as early as 3 months before their visit.